Cincinnati Reds Rally in Eighth, But Fall Short to Pirates, 5-4


4. 4. 61. . 5

W: Happ (9-7)

L: Sampson (2-4)

S: Melancon (44)

The Pittsburgh Pirates came away with the 5-4 victory on Wednesday night against the Cincinnati Reds, thanks to a grand slam off the bat of Jung Ho Kang in the fifth. However, most of the action happened in the eighth inning during a time when the Reds were trying to rally.

The Reds were down 5-1 and clawed back to make it 5-3 with two on and Joey Votto at the plate. That’s when the action started. Votto appeared to ask for time during the at-bat and when Bill Welke did not grant it, Votto turned to the dugout with his hands spread in disgust. Welke decided to toss Votto. Votto threw down his helmet and went off, even being restrained by both Bryan Price and first base umpire Laz Diaz. Price would also get ejected for arguing after Votto walked off the field. Votto struck out twice in his first two at-bats, both on questionable calls, and doubled and scored in his third at-bat to extend his on-base streak to 28 consecutive games.

More from Blog Red Machine

I’m not sure if Votto not being granted time was the reason for his ejection and subsequent outburst or if it was because Welke’s strike zone was inconsistent all night, but in my opinion, it was a combination of both in a close game. (Side note: if Votto is arguing strike calls, I’m probably going to side with Votto most of the time.)

Aside from giving up an early run on a sacrifice fly in the first, Keyvius Sampson pitched well until the fifth inning. That’s when it fell apart. He gave up a walk and two singles to load the bases, followed by the Kang grand slam. It’s the seventh grand slam that Reds pitchers have allowed this season. Sampson was pulled after 5.1 innings, giving up five runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts. If it wasn’t for the grand slam, Sampson likely would have ended up with better numbers than what he did.

The Reds offense was quiet for most of the night against J.A. Happ. Todd Frazier hit his 31st home run of the season, a new career high. But Happ struck out 10 Reds batters in six innings, surrendering only two runs on three hits. Happ now has an ERA below 2.00 in seven games with the Pirates. His career ERA is 4.19. Try to explain that one, because I’m struggling to understand it myself.

Other Notes:

  • If there was a bright spot in the game, it was the bullpen. Sam LeCure, Burke Badenhop, Jumbo Diaz and Pedro Villarreal pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless baseball.
  • Ramon Cabrera replaced Votto in the eighth and got his first major league hit on a bloop single. Not the ideal situation for him to come in, but it ended well for the rookie.
  • Billy Hamilton made his return to the lineup and the leadoff spot tonight. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
  • Brayan Pena left the game in the eighth after he pulled up limping at second base on a pinch-hit double. It looked like it was his hamstring and although he walked off on his own power, it didn’t look good.

Up Next: The Reds continue this stretch of games against NL Central teams when St. Louis come to town beginning Thursday at 7:10 ET. John Lamb (0-3, 6.11 ERA) continues his quest for his first major league win. Jaime Garcia (8-4, 1.89 ERA) gets the start for the Cardinals.

Next: Reds announce next wave of September call-ups